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Algebra, Present and Past

What is Algebra? Algebra is one of the many branches of mathematics. This branch of math utilizes mathematical equations to describe the relationships between any two things that may change over a period of time. Whenever a math equation has to represent something that fluctuates and does not stay the same, letters or symbols are often used to represent the varying quantity. This letter or symbol is called a variable because it varies.

The very start of modern algebra began with the ancient Babylonians. They were the very first people who used an advanced math system for their time. This math used an algebraic system to do calculations, and it enabled the Babylonians to utilize formulas and calculate the answer using unknown values for a problem class that would be solved in the modern day by quadratic equations, linear equations, and indeterminate linear equations. During this same time period in the first millennium BC, most of the mathematicians in India, China, Greece, and Egypt were using geometric methods to solve such equations. The word algebra comes from the Arabic word al-jabar, which means reunion of the broken parts. A Persian Muslim
mathematician named Muhammad ibn Masa al-khwarizmi wrote a book in 820 whose title is translated to mean The book of Summary Concerning Calculating by Transposition and Reduction. There is debate in math circles on whether the mathematician Diophantes, who has always been known as the father of Algebra, or Al-Khwarizmi should actually be named the father of Algebra. There is support for Al-Khwarizmi instead of Diophantes because a lot of his work on reduction is still currently in use today. He also explained how to solve a quadratic very extensively.

In the fourteenth century the word algeber referred to bone setting, which is quite similar to the original meaning of the word. The mathematical form of the word that is spelled algebra had made its debut by the sixteenth century. A man by the name of Robert Recorde was the very first person to use the term algebra in its mathematical meaning. He was also the inventor of the equality symbol(=). The original meaning of the word Algebra would refer today to the sub class of elementary algebra. There are numerous different fields of algebra in the modern definition of the word.

Some of these other mathematic fields include elementary algebra, s-algebra, abstract algebra, geometric algebra, boolean algebra, linear algebra, and many more. The mastery of elementary algebra must be accomplished before calculus or any of the other advanced mathematics can be learned. Many careers today require that at least elementary algebra has been mastered. The symbolism that is first introduced in elementary algebra extends throughout all the fields of mathematics. This is because the symbolism is the letters in the language of math. Modern fields of algebra are vastly more advanced than the first equations and formulas that were developed by the Babylonians. Numerous jobs and careers in the modern work environment require that algebra is mastered as a legitimate requirement for employment.

Submitted by:

Robert Duval

Robert runs MGT, an online company that provides algebra homework help help


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